Is zero-emission truck maker Nikola the new Tesla, or just hot air?

Posted: September 15, 2020 by oldbrew in Batteries, Critique, Energy, hydrogen, Travel

Nikola Two truck model

Some critics say Nikola has been cheating by using gravity as a propulsion method when promoting its truck concepts — or they use words to that effect. Of course exaggerated claims are not unheard of in the world of supposedly ‘green’ engineering. The company has tried to defend itself, as the share price yo-yos with each new claim or attempted rebuttal. This is where the climate-crazed world is taking us, or trying to.
– – –
With its electric and hydrogen-fueled trucks, the firm Nikola aims to revolutionize the future of the transportation sector, says

But with one investor claiming the group is running on empty, it has been having a rollercoaster ride on the stock exchange for the past week.

Founded in 2015 by Trevor Milton, the company is mainly working on the development of trucks and pick-ups powered by electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells, as well as building out hydrogen recharging stations.

Although it has not yet built anything, it has forged strategic partnerships with several renowned industrial groups including the German engineering giant Bosch, the Italians CNH Industrial and, most recently, US car-maker General Motors.

The announcement of the latter partnership on September 8 caused shares to leap 41 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, where the group was floated in June via a merger with a company called VectoIQ, founded by a former senior executive at GM.

Like Tesla, Nikola has benefited on Wall Street from investor infatuation with electric vehicles, considered to be the future of the automobile.

But the investment company Hindenburg Research published a report on September 10 accusing the start-up of “intricate fraud” based on multiple lies by the company’s founder Milton, who it said “misled partners into signing agreements by falsely claiming to have extensive proprietary technology.”

That announcement triggered a plummet in share value, with stock diving 36 percent in three days.

Nikola immediately rejected the charges before issuing a more weighty statement of denial on Monday.

The group said it had been in touch with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the report, which it said was aimed at manipulating its share value, which climbed back 11 percent on Wall Street Monday.

Staged video

Nikola does not however deny one of the more astounding charges leveled against it by the investment company, which was about the staging of a 2017 video showing one of its prototypes in action.

According to Hindenburg, “Nikola had the truck towed to the top of a hill on a remote stretch of road and simply filmed it rolling down the hill.”

Nikola responded that it had “never stated its truck was driving under its own propulsion in the video” but had simply said that it had been “in motion.”

Hindenburg shot back Monday that the company’s explanation was “completely inadequate.”

Continued here.

  1. JB says:

    Sounds like the hill racers of the 40s & 50s. Morphed into Pinewood derbies of the BSA.


  2. ivan says:

    Ah, more pie in the sky hype to get fools to part with their money – as they say ‘a fool and his money is soon parted’. So far there are no ‘batteries’ that can do the work of IC engines in the trucking industry – yes, ‘batteries’ could maybe do it if you ignore the time factor because ‘batteries’ a) don’t have the range, b) take too long to recharge, and c)reduce the carrying capacity of the load.

  3. pochas94 says:

    Depends on the economics. If they can run on hydrogen cheaper than diesel, it’s game over.

  4. Gamecock says:

    There is likely a niche for electric tractor trucks. Local or medium distance. I don’t know if Nikola will succeed at it, but it could happen. It’s not crazy.

  5. The UK’s strategy to provide power for an electrified car fleet took a grand stride forward today as plans for a zero carbon nuclear power plant in Wylfa, Wales that would have generated a GW or so – has been cancelled. The government finally drove Hitachi away.

  6. Coeur de Lion says:

    All it needs is a small Hindenburg.

  7. oldbrew says:

    SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
    Founder of truck maker Nikola resigns after fraud allegations

    In a statement announcing his resignation, Milton said: “The focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me. I intend to defend myself against false allegations leveled against me by outside detractors.”

    Nikola had rejected most of the claims in the Hindenburg report.

    But it did not deny that it staged a 2017 video of one of its prototypes apparently in action.
    – – –
    the Company and its world-changing mission

    It’s a truck 🙄

  8. oldbrew says:

    The Daily Telegraph catches on (via CCD website) …

    The Electric Car Hype Machine Is Just That: Hype
    SEP 22, 2020

    There is Rivian, Nio, Fisker, Workhorse, Lordstown Motors, XPeng, and of course Tesla, whose breathtaking stock rally this year has dragged many imitators behind it.

    But as the original EV pioneer prepares for its latest “battery day” on Tuesday, when it will hold its annual meeting and show off new ideas, whispers of a bubble are only growing. Tesla’s own history of failed predictions hardly helps matters.
    . . .
    Other businesses in the space have been accused of going beyond generating hype and instead engaged in outright lying.

    General Motors may already have lost its shirt – or one of them – on Nikola, to the tune of $2 bn.

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